The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) partners have received an award to conduct a broad Arctic study in US and Canadian waters.
Named Marine Arctic Ecosystem Study (MARES), the research initiative will investigate the interrelationship among the physical, biological, chemical and social science components of the Beaufort Sea ecosystem.
The study will take place from Barrow, Alaska, to the Mackenzie River delta in Canadian waters.
BOEM acting director Walter Cruickshank said: "With widespread interest in the Arctic, including potential oil and gas leasing and development, we’re looking to significantly expand our knowledge of the Beaufort Sea ecosystem to inform our decision-making."
BOEM will carry out the MARES integrated ecosystem research initiative in collaboration with its federal and private sector partners.
Its partners include the US Arctic Research Commission, US Coast Guard, US Geological Survey, US Integrated Ocean Observing System, Marine Mammal Commission, National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Naval Research and Shell Oil Company.
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The investigation aims to advance scientific prediction capabilities for linkages between marine life, human uses, sea ice, atmospheric and oceanic processes and river discharge.
For the project, Stantec Consulting Services will build a team of US and Canadian scientists and technicians on both sides of the border and an independent scientific review board consisting of experts review the project.
This research project follows the stated goals from the National Ocean Policy and the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC), BOEM said.
The key points of these policies are interagency collaboration, integrated science, ecosystem-based management and use of local and traditional knowledge.
Image: Arctic ice-water of the Beaufort Sea. Photo: courtesy of National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) 2007-2014.